The world and all those who live in it are enduring a tremendous cross right now. The COVID-19 virus spread globally, infected over a million and killed tens of thousands so far with no end yet in sight. It can certainly seem like everything we depended on has died. Where do we find hope?
I find hope by recognizing that, as Paul says, we do not have a God who is unable to sympathize or understand our weaknesses and our suffering, but one who has also endured it. Our God, in Jesus, knows pain, betrayal, abandonment, torture, injustice, despair, and death.
I find hope knowing that when I am nailed to the cross, I am not nailed there alone. I have someone with me, as close as my own breath, suffering with me, crying with me, and never leaving me.
I find hope knowing that if I walk hand-in-hand with Jesus, then no matter the pain, no matter how deep the tomb, no matter how black the night, somehow, some way, God will bring resurrection on the other side. I can’t see it right now. It’s like looking at the black sky at midnight and trusting that dawn will come, the sun will rise, the sky will be blue, and a new day will arrive. There is absolutely no evidence of that at midnight. It is my experience of its reliability that allows me peace and trust.
My experience of God is of the paschal mystery – life, death, and resurrection. We were never promised an easy life. We were never promised no pain, no sorrow, no uncertainty, no suffering, and no death. In fact, we were promised quite the opposite. God does not just take the cup away. Yet we were also promised faithfulness, and resurrection in this life and the next. We were promised the same reliability as the sunrise – a powerful, strengthening, life-giving presence that will never leave us in the dark but will lead us through the dark to new light.
So as our global family faces our own version of Good Friday with this virus and all the destruction, decimation, and death it brings, I trust that somehow, some way, our faithful God of life will find ways to bring resurrection out of it, both for individual people and for our world as a whole. It’s hard to see it when nailed up in excruciating pain, but the promise remains. And hope lives.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.